You know those little pamphlets you get from colleges in the mail? You know, the ones that have all those bright shining faces on the front from “students” that go to the university?  I can’t count on one hand how many of those I’ve gotten over the years even though I’m already in college.  The thing about those little pamphlets is that they’re often deceptive.

I’m not saying that the university lies on purpose, I’m just saying that what the universities try to portray on those pamphlets is skewed.  Diversity is the big thing here, but there’s never as much diversity at the actual school than there is on the whole pamphlet.  The question is, why?

Why do universities try so hard to depict diversity that isn’t really accurate?  At the UofA, for example, of course there’s diversity. There are all kinds of people that go to this school, and it seems that the university promotes that kind of diversity and even welcomes it. But there’s still a predominant type of student that goes here who may not look like you or me.  

I think universities with this kind of situation try to convey a different picture to prospective students because they don’t want them to feel uncomfortable attending their university. But the problem is that when people look at these pamphlets or flyers and see all that “diversity,” and then get to the campus and see a different picture, they feel even more uncomfortable than before.

There’s no remedy to this kind of situation.  There’s no way to be accurate without exaggerating unless you’re looking at a pamphlet from a historically black college or university.  Being accurate on these kind of pamphlets would cause a whole other kind of controversy that no one wants to deal with.

The only thing I can say is to go see for yourself.  If you get a pamphlet in the mail that you think is a little overly cast, if you know what I mean, then sign up for a tour at the university and see for yourself.  You’ll be able to see what’s what once you hit the ground running and you’re walking around on the campus.

When I went on college tours, I was able to see the kind of environment around me that I would be exposed to.  For the most part, being able to see for myself either gave me some much needed reassurance or it helped me make a decision to go to another college tour.  Ultimately, I decided to go here, to the UofA, because I loved the environment and the people (and the diversity) when I toured.

Picking a college is hard. There are a lot of factors that go into your decisions and believe it or not, diversity among students and faculty is one of them.  Those little pamphlets, though?  You won’t learn anything about the university from those.  So throw them away, and go take a tour––you’ll never know if you like a university until you’re on the campus experiencing it for yourself.  And odds are there is some diversity, so don’t worry.

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